Celtic go into their match with Arsenal at 4pm today top of the Emirates Cup after coming from 2-0 down to draw with Lyon yesterday.
And manager Neil Lennon admits the thought of taking on Arsene Wenger’s side, who he had numerous encounters with as a player for Leicester City, is a daunting one.
Arsenal are 2/5 favourites to win the game, while Lennon’s Bhoys are an unlikely 11/2 chance.
“It’ll be a great test, they are a fantastic team,” Lennon said. “I saw a picture of Denis Bergkamp walking in and it reminded me of the hat-trick he scored against us [when at Leicester]. How we got away with 3-3 I’ll never know.”
Given Arsenal (6/1 to win the Premier League) also drew their match yesterday, 1-1 against AC Milan, a hat-trick of a different kind might be beckoning.
A third score-draw, this time of 3-3, is available at a money-spinning 80/1 but with goals earning points in this competition that is not beyond the realms of possibility.
New signing Marouane Chamakh got the first goal against Milan yesterday with a cool slotted finish after Andrei Arshavin had put him through. The Moroccan (25/1 to be Premier league top scorer) is 3/1 favourite to open the scoring again, while Arshavin is a 7/2 shout.
Thomas Vermaelen had a header from a corner saved when the score was 0-0, and with the defender’s attacking exploits from last season as evidence, may be worth a bet at 16/1.
For Celtic, Gary Hooper (8/1 for first goal) volleyed in to make it 2-1 against Lyon yesterday and Georgios Samaras (9/1) completed the comeback with a header from a free-kick.
Arsenal beat Celtic 3-1 at the Emirates in last season’s Champions League qualifier and that score is a tempting 9/1 price.
The other match at Emirates today kicks off at 2pm and sees AC Milan take on Lyon.
The Italians are 11/10 favourites to win the game, while the French side are 2/1. Another draw for these two is 11/5.
Alexandre Pato, who grabbed the equaliser against Arsenal is 5/1 to score first, while Michel Bastos, who cracked in the opening goal against Celtic with a stunning free-kick, is an enticing 14/1.